Foreground aquarium plants directly influence the impression of an aquascape. So the selection and planting of foreground aquatic plants are very important to build a beautiful planted aquarium.

Tips for selection of foreground aquatic plants

There are various types of aquatic plants, but not many of them are suitable as a foreground plant. You need to know which plants can be used as a foreground plant and learn their characteristics. The foreground plants support the attractive appearance of the bottom layer of the aquarium. They must be planted and maintained neatly, or the entire aquascape would look untidy.


One of the factors to be considered in the selection of foreground plants is the plant height. This is because the plant height will determine how much composition materials such as driftwood and stone will be hidden behind the plants. Short plants are usually chosen as foreground plants to not hide the details of stone and driftwood arrangement. On the other hand, tall plants are usually selected as background plants which are placed in backward of the aquascape. The tall plants are also used to conceal the details of composition material.

An additional factor for the selection of plants is the image produced by each aquatic plant. Hair grass (Eleochalis acicularis) produces an image of a field of soft grasses while Glossostigma and Lilaeopsis brasilseusis planted as a single species adds a neat and orderly touch to the aquascape.


Hair grass (Eleochalis acicularis) produces an image of a field of soft grasses


Glossostigma elatinoides adds a neat and orderly touch to the aquascape

4 steps to plant foreground aquatic plants

1. Dividing foreground plants into small bunches

  • dividing-foreground-plants-into-small-bunches
  • As a part of preparation, foreground plants are divided into small bunches that are easy to hold with tweezers and then placed on a tray. Plants like Glossostigma must be as short as about 3cm. It is advisable to align the base position of these bunches to facilitate the planting work.

2. Start planting from the sides of stones and drift­wood

  • start-planting-from-the-sides-of-stones-and-drift­wood-1
  • If you cannot use plenty of plants due to budget constraints, it is recommended to start planting from the sides of the composition materials towards the front of the aquarium. It is also important to fill the planting area evenly with plants.

3. Adjusting the water to the level where the substrate is barely submerged

  • Adjusting the water to the level where the substrate is barely submerged
  • Foreground plants are small and difficult to plant. The key to easy planting of such plants is pre­-planting preparation and adjusting the water level during the planting process. The number of plants to be planted initially should be determined by taking the plant’s growth rate into consideration.
  • Planting work will be easier if the water is poured to a level where the substrate is barely covered with water. Long Pinsettes L with pointed tips are an ideal tool for the planting of foreground plants.

4. Adjusting the plant density according to the growth rate

Fast-growing plants should be planted with wider intervals while slow-growing plants should be densely planted with smaller intervals. The initial dense planting is vital for plants such as Hemianthus callitrichoides “Cuba” and Lilaeopsis brasilseusis. Ensur­ing a good balance with background plants is also important. If fast-growing stem plants are the main plant of the layout, the foreground should be more densely planted.


1. Fast-growing foreground plants: Fast-growing foreground plants such as Glossostigma will cover the entire space very fast even with wider intervals. Planting density should be adjusted according to the growth rate at each location of the layout.

2. Slow-growing foreground plants: Slow-growing foreground plants such as Lilaeopsis brasil­seusis should be planted as densely as possible from the be­ginning as it takes time for them to cover the substrate. Achieving a dense planting of foreground plants at the early stage can prevent algal growth.

Hope this article will help you choose foreground plants for your aquascape easier. Look forward to receiving your comments below.

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